In her video, Chlo narrates her ordeal direct to camera: “I got sued by the smiley company this summer… because I used the word smiley in a tag and an Etsy listing for a capybara pin.” For reference, a capybara is a giant rodent native to South America. This unexpected legal challenge led to Chlo’s Etsy shop being closed, leaving her with 80 unfulfilled orders and a battle she never anticipated.
Chlo’s approach to the lawsuit was as unique as her situation. “I engaged back and forth with the attorneys from America… I taught myself law in a week,” she says. Determined to fight back, Chlo delved into legal research and crafted a comprehensive defense. Her says efforts were successful. “And within 17 minutes of me sending my response, they dismissed me from the case. No charge,” she says.
The TikTok community rallied behind Chlo, expressing a mix of support and astonishment. Comments ranged from incredulous to supportive, with one user humorously noting, “First time I’m hearing about a smiley company …” One comment highlighted the absurdity of the situation: “Did they also sue the dictionary?!? Because Smiley is a legit word.” Another person compared Chlo to Reese Witherspoon’s character from the movie Legally Blonde. “I think you should make a capybara Elle Woods because you legally blonded them,” they wrote.
@imchloecam #stitch with @Susi super HAPPY about my time this summer🤭😀😀 #storeboughtpesto #pesto #storytime #funnystorytime #comedy ♬ original sound – chlo
Chlo’s experience sheds light on the precarious nature of relying on digital platforms for business. It underscores how quickly one can be embroiled in legal battles over vague terms of service violations, which can impact livelihoods and causing significant stress to users of said platforms.
Through her video, Chlo not only shared her ordeal but also tapped into the collective support and wisdom of the TikTok community. Her story is a powerful example of how social media can be used for advocacy, sharing grievances, and finding solutions.
This isn’t the first time that Etsy sellers have complained about getting banned for reasons that they believe are entirely baseless, like this DIY popsocket maker, and this Harry Styles fan who had their merchandise store shut down completely deleting a recurring source of her income.
Another harrowing Etsy out-of-nowhere store closure case saw one shop owner have their online store closed down and all of their customers refunded, but only after she had already shipped out all of their products. This left her out cash and merchandise. Others have expressed disdain for the site’s security, stating that their online shop was stolen by someone else multiple times.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Etsy, The Smiley Company, and Chlo via email for further comment.